Why are people leaving Charleston?

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — According to data from the United States Census Bureau, Charleston’s population has dropped more than 2,500 people since 2010.

Jobs like manufacturing, coal and chemical plants are slowly leaving the state, resulting in higher unemployment. Local area businesses and residents give their thoughts on this common thread of the decreasing population in Charleston.

“It would be hard to attract a wide variety of businesses to the area without improving the baseline capacity of people, their health, their education, the income that people have, and a lot of it is really investing in basic human needs,” Aju James, a Charleston resident said.

Charleston residents believe those who are leaving are, due to better advancement of jobs, which result in a higher income, and those who are staying are working at a lower rate of pay. Some believe that the quality of life is the biggest issue here.

“Without a population that has those kinds of qualities, it is hard to see somebody from outside coming in to start a business,” James said.

“I’ve noticed a lot more small businesses opening, like the bagel shop on the corner, Stella’s, but there’s still those few cornerstone businesses that are here, like Graziano’s, Ellen’s, Taylor Books, and I’m glad there are new businesses opening. I just hope they can stay open,” Grace Mullins, a Taylor’s Books worker, said.

Now, new small businesses and infrastructures are being built here, more people are coming to the city to visit or stay and assist Charleston’s economic development.

“Sales have gone up, and I’ve noticed more people coming in and more people coming in from out of state, like stopping here when they’re traveling through,” Mullins said.

Everyone’s love for the state of West Virginia is a common thread, especially with the tight-knit community here in Charleston.

“The mountains, the way it looks, all four seasons. As a state, it’s really perfect,” Cate Jones, a Mea Cuppa worker, said.

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